The Key to Peace in Colombia: Paz Territorial?

The blogs are coming thick and fast at the moment, but, given the circumstances in Colombia there is good reason for this. Peace dialogues with the FARC, exploratory talks agreed with the ELN and the presidential elections on Sunday, just to name three. So, this morning at the Hotel Tequendama, those present were privy to some particularly interesting presentations including that given by the Colombian High Commission for Peace Sergio Jaramillo regarding his theory on “Paz Territorial”.

Peace in Colombia

Sergio Jaramillo, Colombian High Commisioner for Peace

As a key member of the government’s negotiating team in Havana, Cuba, Jaramillo speaks with an authority. His idea of “Paz Territorial” involves “guaranteeing the rights of all Colombians in all of the national territory.”

Perhaps what was most refreshing about Jaramillo’s discourse this morning at this national meeting: Politica de Paz y Reconciliacion, 20 Anos de Experiencias Regionales, was when he revealed that, while bridges need to be built between the rural and the urban, the most telling was his statement that the figures for development released by the various government departments , do in fact, hide the reality of what is going on in rural Colombia. It was a breath of fresh air.

Hotel Tequendama

The Politica de Paz y Reconciliacion: 20 Anos de Experiencias Regionales meeting in Bogotá, June 11 2014

According to Jaramillo the following are the challenges for Colombia as we create an inclusive post conflict model.

  • Obligations to implement the planned promises and projects
  • Identify what it is that Colombia has achieved and produce a road map
  • How we can articulate these efforts in the territories
  • Articulate a new message with authorities
  • The sustainability of all of the projects

What is starkly obvious is that there is a new way of thinking being employed now that peace seems to be a possibility. As all of the experts present stipulated, this is a process which is continually under construction, a new political model needs to be fashioned and education in general has to change its focus. As a community representative of a small Caribbean town present, Belkin Ruiz said of the conflict: “Quien lo vive es quien lo siente.” “He who lives it, is he who feels it.” Her point extended to express the need for people to understand that Colombia is a multi ethnic and multi cultural country.

Hotel Tequendama

Colombia’s Director General of the Departamento para la Prosperidad Social, Gabriel Vallejo Lopez

We were asked by those speaking to reflect. And this, it seems, is incredibly poignant. Think politically but speak personally said the host. And perhaps this was best illustrated by the profoundly personal comment made by the Director General of the Departamento para la Prosperidad Social, Gabriel Vallejo Lopez.

“We have been victims of the violence for so long, we know what’s at stake. My older brother was killed by two sicarios on the doorstep of my mother’s house 15 years ago. We all have our own pain and suffering.”

The talk and the event was humanized in a way that I have never experienced before. Ordinarily those hosting this sort of event do not share such personal memories.

And so, Colombians are being asked to reflect on the past 50 years and think about the future but, taking into account the past. As Mara Nieto a community leader from Valledupar said: “We are constructing from our memories. Memories for we the victims are incredibly important.”

 We were left with pointers to consider:

  • Social Inclusion
  • Generation of Income
  • Rural Development
  • Education



About Richard

Anglo-Canadian resident in Colombia. Journalist, Writer, Hotelier, Expedition Guide
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